Review of HealthTap

As posted below, I joined HealthTap a month ago, impressed with its vision of bringing real medical expertise to the public in a Yahoo Answers type format.  Since then I’ve participated actively.  As of today, I’ve answered 40 questions, and I’ve been thanked by 30 members — it’s tempting to call them patients, but they’re not.  Other physicians have agreed with my answers 60 times; I’ve agreed with some of theirs as well.  HealthTap claims I’ve helped over 4000 people; I have no idea how they calculate that.  I’ve earned 3600 points and 13 rather trivial “awards” by virtue of my activities, granting me “Level 7” status as a “Leading Medical Expert.”  I haven’t yet used the mobile app or social networking links (i.e., to Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter), nor have I written “tips” or “health guides,” collections of answers and tips under a defined theme.  I also haven’t done much with the networking feature: I “follow” one other psychiatrist, and eight physicians follow me, which basically means they find out immediately if I post something (and their dedicated readers see it as well, like a Facebook “wall”).  Today, HealthTap reposted my piece on support and insight in therapy to their blog.

All in all, it’s been fun.  The awards, points, and “levels” are a bit silly, but they add some zing.  Answering questions in 400 characters isn’t as hard as I expected, and part of the fun is deciding what to say in so few words.  It’s also interesting to read what other MDs write, especially in fields other than mine.  And it does feel nice to volunteer simple answers to real questions people have.

HealthTap democritizes medical knowledge, and brings the public closer to instant “ask your doctor” convenience than other health sites I’ve seen.  But looming over the enterprise is the reality that we are not “your” doctor.  The terms of service and legal disclaimers underscore that no doctor-patient relationship exists via the site, and that medical answers are intended to be generic, not for an individual.  But patients, I mean members, mostly ask first-person questions that address their personal medical concerns.  That’s the whole idea.  And very often we doctors reply that there are many possible diagnoses or etiologies to consider, but that only an in-person medical evaluation can sort them out.

While HealthTap is an inspired effort, in my opinion it is hampered by the wrong model.  It tries to be a social networking site, when in reality it’s a knowledgebase.  Social networks derive value from interconnected communications among members; think Twitter and Facebook.  But people don’t chat about health issues on HealthTap, nor do they befriend others.  They seek answers to questions.  HealthTap’s social network model encourages asking the same questions over and over, since quick access to doctors is emphasized, not the fact that thousands of questions have already been answered.  For example, in my one month on the site several members have asked how to treat anxiety.  It’s a good generic question, but it’s already been answered a number of times — at least as well as one can answer such a broad question in 400 characters.

HealthTap encourages doctors to create a Virtual Practice to “enhance your reputation, get new patients, and improve practice efficiency.”  I don’t quite see the utility, but perhaps this works better for other specialties.  I can imagine a family physician pointing real patients to his or her HealthTap page for tips or guidelines about common complaints.

I think HealthTap would serve its members better by embracing the knowledgebase model.  Make prior questions and associated answers more easily searchable, and give searching priority over asking anew.  If a user’s specific question is not found, it could be submitted to HealthTap staff for vetting.  Duplicate or incoherent questions could be rejected, grammar and spelling cleaned up, and meaningful tags added to facilitate retrieval later.  To encourage participation, doctors could still be recognized for answering quickly or often, or with answers colleagues agree with.  Thanks could still be offered by members for helpful answers, and everyone could still log into personalized pages as they do now.

HealthTap is reportedly popular and growing rapidly.  HealthTap Express, the mobile app, is the #1 Staff Pick on Android Market.  As long as people seek health information online, and as long as doctors volunteer to provide it, HealthTap’s future seems bright.  But it could be so much more if its architecture better matched its primary purpose.  Social networks are great for social networking.  Knowledgebases are great for organizing, storing, and retrieving knowledge.  The doctor-patient relationship, a small social network, cannot exist on HealthTap, but a great deal of medical knowledge already does.  Its organization and accessibility could be greatly enhanced without sacrificing the responsiveness and personalization that brings smiles to the HealthTap team and its members.

40 comments to Review of HealthTap

  • Audrey Pauly

    Who is profiting from the MD’s altruistic spirit. Few sites are non-profit?

    • Excellent question. I visited the HealthTap office in Palo Alto a couple months ago, and asked them a similar question myself. They told me there was no revenue model as yet, i.e., they weren’t making money from the site, and were supported by private investors. Perhaps not surprisingly, they didn’t divulge future plans to turn a profit. My understanding is that this is typical of Silicon Valley. It’s more important to get “eyeballs” (users) attached to a website first, and then “monetize” it, i.e., find ways to make money from users. HealthTap has just started to roll out a premium service, where users can pay to have a specific doctor answer a private question. I believe this income will be split between HealthTap and the answering doctor. It’s a pretty good revenue model if it scales up, and of course the doctors in this model aren’t entirely altruistic themselves.

      The free and public questions and answers will apparently continue as well.

  • AK

    Dr. Reidboard, thanks for your insight. I just received an email requesting to join. It seems pretty neat concept. I was wondering how much are you paid for your points? I don’t expect to quit my day job any time soon, but I can’t find any info on that

    • As I wrote above, the only monetary compensation a doctor receives for participating is some portion of the fee ($10) a user pays to ask a question of that specific doctor. Since my original post above, I’ve remained quite active on HealthTap: I’ve answered hundreds of questions that have garnered over 4,000 “agrees” by fellow MDs. For what it’s worth, I’m their “top psychiatrist” in California. However, I’ve only been asked two questions in the paid format described above, and haven’t received a dime for doing so. (I think there’s a threshold below which it isn’t worth cutting a check.) Unless you become a wildly popular target for paid questions, best not to quit your day job.

  • Howard

    I just joined Healthtap and was glad to see a review from a physician’s perspective. The answers are generic, cover multiple possibilities and local physicians are referred. I just don’t see what a physician gets out of participating unless it is a way to solicit new patients to their physical practice. It seems that questions should be referred to physicians within that member’s city or zip code they listed in their profiles. My own primary physician is listed as a member but as of yet has not participated. I feel as though I could take advantage by asking her a question directly without an office visit and get almost instant evaluations free or for just 10.00. My doctor is then out her office visit fees and other charges if she diagnoses me online. It would be similar to my doctor providing me her personal cell phone or email and expecting her to respond each and every time. Can you imagine if all of her patients had access like that. She would spend all of her available time fielding calls and emails. I think is great that physicians do participate, I just don’t understand why they do when they receive do so little in return, compared to their normal practice.
    Just my observations and I hope I am not out of place commenting on your blog.

    • You’re not out of place at all, thanks for writing. I don’t know why other physicians do it, but I’ve been a teacher of med students and resident doctors my whole career, and enjoy the opportunity to offer public education about my often misunderstood speciality of psychiatry. To my knowledge, I’ve never gotten a real patient out of it, but that isn’t my goal. And if any of my actual patients are members of HealthTap, I’m not aware of it. (Users are permitted to declare HT doctors as “their” doctor, but the designation is meaningless. People from all around the world have declared me “their doctor”, and I don’t know any of them in real life.)

      No one should be diagnosing or treating anyone on HT. It’s a health information site, not a substitute for medical care. As I’ve blogged, I get a little concerned when HT seems to blur this boundary, but I’m careful not to do so myself.

  • Jess.

    Thank you for this very informative blog! Personally, I was looking for the feedback/testimonial feature of Healthtap via their link to a new window. Though this is not the website’s personal review area, your words and posts were very interesting to read. Though I’m sure this doesn’t require repeating, you are right on how often questions are posed over and over and it’s agreed that could do with changing. There is the option of searching questions while posing one, however the search isn’t advanced enough to choose a similar question with the closest phrasing. (kindof like Google is lately). Then there is the matter that other questions are allowed, wherein lies another question directly posed to you. Have you even seen a question that’s medically related but not specifically a treatment or diagnosis related question? Perhaps to you…the chemical difference between lexapro and celexa and why it makes all the difference? (You don’t have to answer that 🙂 , it’s merely an association) Are those types of questions around anymore? Questions to help better understand why certain treatments/procedures are chosen over others when low on time and the internet is finicky? Went a little off topic there. Regardless the site is very interesting, even if the future may reveal a change. And again, thank you for the >400 characters, legible, informative and public post! We of the world of random curiosities thank you for your time and your volunteered information. Your participation and your colleagues participation are greatly appreciated even if the chance to actually say so is only 70 characters long.

    • Hi Jess,
      Most questions on HealthTap are requests for free medical advice over the internet, so we doctors have to be careful not to “practice medicine” this way, which would be unprofessional and very risky. I try to state general facts and not give direct advice. Every now and then I see a question on HealthTap that is not specifically about treatment or diagnosis, e.g., the difference between Lexapro and Celexa. However, even with this kind of question the person usually wants to know the practical difference, not the chemical difference.

      Thanks for your kind words about my blog, and for taking the time to write.

  • Mark

    Really thoughtful writing. Thanks!

  • Dianah

    I’ve submitted around 50 questions the last two years and have received a dozen useful answers. The majority of the answers have been irrelevant, inaccurate, or simply unhelpful. I’m in the pharmaceutical industry, so maybe I know too much about medicine for this site to be useful. Perhaps it is useful to the complete layperson who has a very common medical issue.

  • Myles Douglas, MD

    I recently joined Health Tap out of curiosity and responded to several questions within my field of Cardiovascular Surgery. I found it to be somewhat of a challenge to my ability to articulate and respond meaningfully to questions in 400 characters. I also find it ethically and morally
    unacceptable to give significant medical advice to individuals who you have not examined. Therefore most reponses are to “see your own physician”.
    I do not beleive this site to be very beneficial to anyone, and in fact I am very confused as to how Health Tap can help anyone.

  • Thank you for this informative review. I have been invited to join the staff at Health Tap and your blog article helped me decide to try it. So I have just joined. I hope for a good experience. Connecting directly with people is important to me, as i believe that psychiatrists have not been very good at this over the years, allowing huge misunderstandings about psychiatry to take flourish in the minds of people outside of our profession. Also, i hope for a networking opportunities with colleagues difficult to meet in person, often due to time or geographical constrains.
    Any piece of advice for a beginner Health Tap doctor? Any pitfalls I need to make sure I avoid?
    Thank for your blogs. I enjoy reading them.

    • Hi Dr. Forest,
      I encourage you to try HealthTap and make up your own mind. Psychiatry in particular is widely misunderstood, so your participation serves public education about our field. The main pitfall I’d point out is echoed by commenter Dr. Douglas just above. It’s tempting to give medical advice on HealthTap owing to the nature of the questions asked and the way HealthTap is organized. However, as ethical professionals we need to refrain from doing this. I believe as long as we doctors view our role on HealthTap as public educators, not as doctors with “online patients,” we’re on firm ground. Thank you for writing.

  • Dr Della

    I recently joined the website and was given an offer to get paid to “see” consults within my field. Has any been doing this? Are there any medico legal problems / issues with this? I’m assuming you can be held liable for misinformation or diagnosis. Thanks for your time.

    • HealthTap recently rolled out a new service “HealthTap Prime”: actual doctor-patient visits via online video link (like Skype or FaceTime, although I believe they use another similar technology). Patients pay HealthTap, which then pays the participating doctors. As far as I know, it is only being offered for primary care, i.e., general family or internal medicine and pediatrics, not specialty care. I see pros and cons to online doctor-patient encounters in general, and wrote about it here regarding psychiatry. HealthTap offers malpractice coverage to participating docs, but I assume there’s still some legal risk. You can only “see” patients in states where you hold an active medical license, and also apparently international patients. It’s new and I’m not participating myself, so that’s all I know so far. Thanks for writing.

  • Mike

    I recently found HealthTap and have learned more about my condition in one day than in over a year of research on sites such as WebMD, MayoClinic and many others. Even though I share the general condition with many others the specifics of each case vary widely and I’ve found some of the many unique Q&A’s on HealthTap incredibly helpful. However you are correct in pointing out the need for more logical organization of the site’s information. Random keyword search is helpful but I’m sure I’m missing additional relevant information that would be available in a knowledgebase format.

  • Alex

    I am a psychiatrist working for a state. I got an email recently:

    “Hi Dr. ****. I’m delighted to extend to you my personal exclusive invitation to be a Founding member on HealthTap Prime, a new groundbreaking service that enables you to give patient care via live video, audio, and text consults. You can:
    get paid well (earn up to $180/hour) >>
    practice from anywhere >>
    enjoy flexible hours >>
    practice without overhead or other costs (liability insurance included) >>
    With more than 55,000 U.S.-licensed doctors in our network helping tens of millions everywhere, we’re now leaping ahead to create the future of digital health.”

    Surely I got very suspicious and began looking for information. This site is an excellent introduction to the reality of HealthTap. My impression is mixed so far. I guess I will wish them luck. Thanks.

  • EBS, MD

    My wife, a highly specialized university based Ophthalmologist, received the same email as Alex (above). She asked me to check it out. I agree with Alex’s suspicions. How are the docs’ credentials vetted? What are the professional standards? Shouldn’t the “doctor – patient relationship” be defined as health EDUCATION as opposed to health ADVICE? ((Sorry for caps. No italics possible for emphasis))

    I also agree with the post above complaining about the lack of simplicity in a patient’s search for health information. There can be much simpler and more credible models.

    Thanks for this excellent forum!

    • I have no objection generally to HealthTap Prime, i.e., actual doctor-patient encounters online. “Telemedicine” is increasingly popular, and it’s apparently here to stay. As with most everything else in life, telemedicine has pros and cons. Unlike the other parts of HealthTap, “Prime” will be actual health advice — diagnosing and prescribing.

      My main concern is that HealthTap welcomes medical specialists of all types to do primary care in this way, and most of us aren’t suited to do it. This parallels my ability to do surgery or cardiology even though my specialty training is psychiatry. In theory my medical license allows this, but a hiring institution, not to mention patients themselves, would be foolish to let me try. Thanks for writing.

  • I too have been a regular participant in Healthtap. I don’t believe if would get any monetary compensation even if there is a paid consultation- you just get points. I have given at least a dozen paid consultations, but have yet received a red penny. I have also been invited to join Healthtap Prime which pays about $30 per consultation but you will have to treat the patient like you are his/her doctor. I have asked Healthtap by e-mail on at least two occasions about malpractice coverage issues, but have never got an answer.
    I am now doing it mainly as a charitable gesture and have been surprised that how many people have been asking questions which their own doctors should have answered.

  • Bennett E. Werner, MD FACC

    Excellent blog. Several people have written asking what doctors get out of this? I just want to add my own perspective: I’ve been working with HealthTap for over a year and reached level 19 (for whatever that’s worth!). I’m semi-retired, working 10 days a month. I have plenty of free time. I’ve gotten a lot of benefit reading other’s expertise in various non-medical fields on the internet about which I know little. I volunteer on Healthtap to “pay it forward.” Every now and then, someone asks a question in which I actually think I can do them some good. It just makes me feel good to do that. No monetary reward received or expected. Since,as a physician, I know how to do a medical search and to evaluate the source of information, many of my answers on HT are simply a link to an article or website that I recommend that will provide knowledge in a more comprehensive way than the 400 character limit allows.

  • Noone

    New pricing model announced on Fox Business today: $99/month to get access and diagnosis or referral. Doctors apply and get “certified” by website. Sounds fecal to me

  • Frank

    I have been working with healthtap prime since they launched. I see spot of concern over compensation. To date, I have generated $3600 on revenue in less than 2 weeks.

    • Mabria

      Frank, Have you been compensated for every shift? They have not posted any revenue from several of my shifts and 50-75% less for several others. So far I have not seen any ‘direct deposit’ to my bank from Healthtap.

  • adam brower

    My very specific question was removed “from consideration at this time.” I do not doubt that it would be considered if I were to upgrade to the “$” option. It seems quite obvious that there is little incentive to consider questions from non-paying users, and considerable incentive to respond to paying users. After reading through a considerable volume of questions and responses, it becomes clear that this is just a novel way of enriching the medical industry – the industry which supplanted the profession of medicine that benefitted people when I was growing up.

    Dr. Green, who drove an older automobile, and who submitted his bills through the mail and visited our home whether or not those invoices were paid promptly, cared for me when I was bedridden for a year with tonsillitis at age seven. He was not wealthy. He did not become a physician because he craved wealth or status; he loved every patient in his care, and he emarked on a career in medicine to relieve suffering.

    In sum: HealthTap is a base and craven tool with which to squeeze a few dollars from people whose communities have been deserted by the medical industry. I would suggest that the physicians who participate in this scheme should be ashamed, but I doubt that the concept of shame is known to them.

    • I’m sorry HealthTap has embittered you. Of course, it’s just a website and you can ignore it. To date, I have answered 670 health questions from users, all for free. I don’t know why your question was removed. The most common reasons seem to be that the question is incomprehensible, not a health question (e.g., “What do you think of Obamacare?”), or is an attempt to do something illegal or unethical (e.g., “How can I spike my date’s drink so she can’t tell?”). Also, many questions regarding specific medical situations are simply impossible to answer over the internet, sight unseen. Usually at least one doctor will say this in a reply, but not always.

      In any case, I’m not ashamed to volunteer health information for free, and you may choose to gather free health information on their site, or not. HealthTap also offers pay options, and I have some objections to those, so I don’t participate in them. I guess I can understand your feeling that HealthTap “squeezes a few dollars from people whose communities have been deserted by the medical industry.” Sadly, the Dr. Greens of the world are a dying breed. Thanks for writing.

      • adam brower

        I don’t usually respond to a response, but yours begins with an unnecessary apology. Healthtap has not “embittered” me in particular; even in general, I wouldn’t describe myself as embittered about medicine, merely realistic. I was disappointed that a very clear statement of unusual symptoms was “removed from consideration” until I re-read the site description and did a little research. With current funding at ~40 million, Healthtap is obviously not an exercise in altruism or community care. And of course, even though my question was removed, I still receive cheerful emails encouraging me to “upgrade.” Mirabile dictu!

        I am hardly alone in perceiving that the profession of medicine has changed into the “medical industry.” When I first began using the expression twenty years ago (after being caught in its gears) it provoked immediate objections from those in the practice. These days, no-one bats an eye, any more than a Veyron with the Florida license plate “B 9 2MOR” seems prepossessing.

        • In contrast, I often respond to responses. Needless to say, HealthTap (the company) is not an exercise in altruism or community care. My reply to the very first comment shows that I never doubted HealthTap would eventually try to turn a profit. At the time I hadn’t anticipated their becoming an online concierge primary practice, and frankly this “revenue model” strikes me as dubious. Time will tell.

          I remain unclear what re-reading the site description and doing a little research clarified for you about why your question was removed. As noted, I’ve answered hundreds of questions in my specialty, as have thousands of other doctor-volunteers, all for free. Perhaps we should be the ones embittered that our altruistic impulse to help people serves a company that aims to profit from our unpaid efforts. Personally, I’m not inclined to get worked up about this, as I knew what I was getting into.

          The industrialization of medicine has been proceeding for a number of decades. Even 20 years ago it was a topic of newspaper articles and scholarly papers. Here’s a nice paper from ten years ago. I’m happy to include myself among those who still maintain non-industrial “cottage” practices. Even the most money-hungry MD can’t afford a Veyron (base price $1.7M) solely from practicing medicine. That kind of wealth comes from inheritance, business (including in the health care industry), or finance.

  • medic

    I have been a member of HealthTap for a few years, only because I have free time and see it as a game. I offer good advice to questionable people – questionable meaning I cannot tell if these are real people asking. Many questions make no sense, as if written by computers or word generating software. I have lots of cute little awards. I have helped over 400 thousand people… I think it is a site to collect lots of MDs on one site, so that you can either take $ from them eventually, or sell the site to a business who wants all those MDs grouped together to make $ somehow.

  • Dr. Lars

    I joined HealthTap a number of years ago and enjoyed answering some patient questions; as far as I could tell I was the only pediatric cardiologist on the site at the time. Then, like you, I started getting a large number of questions that were clearly generated by a computer, not a person. Immediately I felt like I was being manipulated to boost their “doctor eyeballs” or something, so I quit. I see that this method has continued, apparently.

  • Mark Menich, MD

    Tremendously helpful discussion; thank you for your thoughtful observations, Dr. Reidbord. I’m an allergist, and like psychiatry, the field is widely misunderstood by both medical and lay people. I’ve been mulling over participating in Health Tap for a couple years, pestered by their incessant e-mail invitations. When I first investigated it, I remember thinking, “Wait a minute….I’d be giving time and expertise for free. How is that helpful to me?” It appears that was a valid concern. The physicians who describe it as a positive experience seem to enjoy it for the sake of sharing knowledge, and because they have the time to participate. (Or don’t begrudge the time.) Time, alas, is one thing on which I am short at this point in my life. And nothing I have read has allayed my wariness about risk and liability. I think I’ll continue to observe Health Tap from the sidelines for now. Thanks again.

  • Robin

    I am a frequent user of healthtap, and often go there first for my medical questions because they’re being answered by physicians. Although I agree that perhaps the set up of health tap could be improved, this site has given me a plethora or useful information. THANK YOU to all you doctors who volunteer your time and knowledge, basically for the greater good. It is so appreciated and has greatly improved my knowledge of health as a whole

  • Matt Law

    I was looking for reviews on healthtap and this review came up by Doctor Steven. I am a leader, speaker, and CEO in the world digital marketing and the idea really caught my attention. Intrigued, I decided to read, even the comments. My two cents from a patient point of view is that online medical treatment is coming soon and will be HUGE. While I agree it may NOT be better for all patients, this is what the world is coming to.

    Recently, I waited over 90 minutes for an appointment. I asked my doctor if they had any guarantees for making me wait so long. Nope. That’s how it is sometimes. I also have diabetes and a couple of years ago I called in to the doctor becaise of being sick with high numbers. I was told, by the rude lady behind the glass, that my doctor could not see me for 90 days because he is booked solid. Actually rude lady, it will be longer than 90 days because this family of Four is leaving.

    Some of you are speaking about how you’ve helped out on healthtap. You are helping out the future change in healthcare. While I believe some of you love your patients, you may not realize the general opinion and outrage against doctors and the rude ladies behind your glass windows. It is only going to get worse.

    My suggeation is to stop answering questions on this healthtap board and innovate your business so that you can answer questions from your patiets now. Liability you say? Make us sign something! We don’t care. We just want help and we need it now. I am of the opinion that I would GLADLY SPEND $100 to go online and see a top rated doctor RIGHT NOW, than wait in a room of sick people for 90 minutes. If it comes to where these doctors can write scripts, then 50% of our family visits would be avoided. Some have said how will they insure quality? Reviews! What you don’t realize is that most new patients are already checking your reviews online. Come on friends, you check reviews on opentable.com and yelp don’t you?

    The technology already exists for you to innovate now. Build a blog. Create a forum! Make a patient only email portal. Schedule video appointments. Take 1 hour and help your patients and they will stick with you. Don’t want to change? To busy? Unfortunatly the only thing stronger than Uncle Sam is Uncle Silicon who lobbys and funds Sam. I am excited to see what the future holds.

    • The American love of speed and convenience guarantees that telemedicine is coming and will be huge. Indeed, the public often values convenience over quality or safety. That’s why fast food is a vast industry and fine dining isn’t, and why Uber disrupts taxi services even though the latter are licensed and vetted. By the same token, a doctor who knows you and your family, and can actually examine you, will likely be trounced in the marketplace by an “instant doc” on your smartphone who doesn’t know you and can’t touch you.

      As a doctor, I consider it shortsighted that convenience trumps medical quality — that loose business ethics may replace the higher ethical standards of medicine. Perhaps as a frustrated patient I might see it the other way. In any case, I’d caution that user reviews are a poor indicator of medical quality. The “rude lady behind the glass” may influence such reviews more than the diagnostic accuracy or therapeutic effectiveness of the doctor.

      I confess to some irritation with business folk who believe they know how to treat patients better than doctors do. While we all have room to improve, brash declarations of “disruption” strike me as adolescent, in both the positive and negative senses — lots of potential, but please don’t wreck the family car in the meantime.

      All that said, I agree that existing practices can use technology to improve responsiveness and patient satisfaction. If a doctor returns patients’ calls anyway, why not use Skype, FaceTime, or HealthTap’s video link? I also see nothing wrong with video appointments for (selected) established patients. A win-win all around.

  • Partha

    Hi Dr. Reidbord,
    This was extremely insightful. I was wondering how Health Tap ensures timely response from doctors in the paid model. I wanted to know that if I choose a doctor to my liking and opt for a private consultation, is it possible that the doctor does not respond to my request?

    Thanks

  • Ned Benz

    I am a benefit consultant and was recently contacted regarding adding Healthtap to my corporate clients. I see every day the problems folks encounter that have high deductible health plans and money and time are tight. I also see the problem in some cases in getting in to see a bricks and mortar health care professional in a timely fashion. Not to mention the time employees miss from work when health questions need to be addressed. But one of the real issues is the affordability of health care below the deductible. Their model is very interesting. Without a doubt this is the direction we are heading for medical information.

  • Ching

    Hello,

    I’m searching for an answering to a question.

    ” What are the best alternative sites for doctors to answer medical questions and earn better, that the doctor can leave a day job and sit in front of a computer to answer and earn?

    If have read through all the comments, but didn’t find the answer, Can someone help me in providing the list?

    Thanks in advance for the info!

  • PL

    I wonder why conversations about the artificial polarity between doctors and patients never take into account the role of third parties (insurance carriers, for example) who have inserted themselves into an otherwise happy relationship and ruined it. Captain Obvious, where are you? Face it. Insurance companies have succeeded in souring the relationships between patients and doctors and they have every incentive to keep it that way. In doing so, the milking can continue. They can keep taking more and more money from patients and marginalizing the doctors’ worth in order to pay less and less for our expertise. Patients are led to believe that they are being protected from big bad doctors by their health “care” insurance carriers. What a laugh. They couId not care less about an individual’s medical status, or true needs, when the time comes for paying. I for one gag every time I see a Humana or Molina television commercial espousing their so-called generous and patient-centered interests along with the only dignified role of a physician as a “servant” if he or she truly has a “calling.” Sadly, many doctors keep pretending that they don’t need money for their mortgages and children’s education because to do so implies that they are in it for something other than “the good of doing good for humanity.” I think that strategy is blatantly coercive and shame on us for continuing to fall for it. Grow the hell up! We should be paid (and paid better) for the complicated and highly specialized work that we do. There is no need to apologize for working hard in a helping profession. It is a profession, after all, and we all have to pay our bills. I say, turn the angry crowds towards the true thieves in the equation- INSURANCE COMPANIES and other third parties (such as HEALTH TRAP, by the way)! We should all be protesting the multimillion dollar bonuses various insurance and tech CEOs regularly take out of the medical economy to fill their singular pockets. Where are the greed police and why aren’t they arresting these criminals for stealing our money, respect and satisfaction in what we do for a living? Patients and doctors TOGETHER should be protesting the abuse that has ruined what was once a good, wholesome and helpful relationship. Humanity, schmumanity. Stop giving it away for free. That said, the concept of Health Tap sounds useful at first glance because of the genuine potential for world-wide penetration of medical care into the domain of medical need. If only the myriad con men CEO’s would be satisfied with filling their pockets with altruism instead of all of our money. Could that be a koan? See this to decide because it’s equally as absurd. http://frontburner.dmagazine.com/2016/05/17/the-real-housewives-of-dallas-episode-6-recap/. And by the way, can I please be paid for this helpful advice?

    • The role of third parties in health care is a hot topic in the media — the pro-business media, mostly. Posts on LinkedIn and articles in the Wall Street Journal laud the virtues of assembly-line care under the guidance of MBAs and tech gurus. To hear them say it, medicine is ripe for disruption by any bright young entrepreneur who’s had to kill time in a doctor’s waiting room and won’t stand for it again. Any minute now, physicians will be replaced by an app that’ll send meds to your front door via drone.

      For an alternative viewpoint, you need to read elsewhere. KevinMD.com repeatedly emphasizes the points you’re making, and every now and then a HuffPo piece or an op-ed in the NY Times or similar will too. The problem, as I see it, is that doctors and the public are sharply split on the alternative to what we have now. Broadly speaking, the left wants single-payer and the right wants direct-pay. Both have pros and cons. Until we can speak with (mostly) one voice, we’re stuck with the current system, which is decidedly less than optimal. Thanks for writing.

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